To celebrate Number 200 of the Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs series we have chosen a set of special images to share with you of the Esso Tiger and band entertaining motorists while filling up at Humble Oil Co. stations.
In the early-1960s Humble spent millions of dollars on a new advertising campaign to promote its Esso “Extra” premium gasoline blend. Researchers working on the program found that the average American responded favorably to the use of animals in advertising. Later a clever advertising copywriter working on the project named Emery Smith came up with the “Put A Tiger In Your Tank” slogan and the tiger was chosen for the mascot to promote the sale of the high test fuel.
After the introduction to rev things up a bit more Esso came out with tiger stickers and toy tiger tails that attached to a cars fuel filler and ended up selling 2.6 million of them. The new campaign ended up being such a big hit that Time magazine in 1964 declared it to be “The Year of the Tiger.” View a video of one of the Esso commercials (below) released at the time to see the Tiger cartoon character in action.